A federal court has ruled that T-Mobile’s use of the color magenta is indeed intellectual property that should be protected by trademark law.
Some scoffed when T-Mobile brought the case last year, but a federal court issued an injunction late last month barring AT&T prepaid subsidiary Aio Wireless from using “large swaths” of its plum color in advertising, marketing or store designs.
“T-Mobile has established a likelihood of confusion,” according the ruling, which The Verge posted on its website. “T-Mobile has shown a likelihood that potential customers will be confused into thinking that Aio is affiliated with or associated with T-Mobile based on the confusion between Aio’s use of its plum color and T-Mobile’s similar use of its similar magenta color.”
T-Mobile, naturally, lauded the ruling.
“The court agreed with us that Aio can’t continue infringing T-Mobile’s magenta mark by using large blocks of what it has called ‘plum,’ and told Aio to stop using magenta or similar colors in all of its marketing and advertising, including stores, web sites and social media,” T-Mobile said in a statement on its website. “The Court’s ruling, coming after extensive argument and a three-day hearing, validates T-Mobile’s position that wireless customers identify T-Mobile with magenta and that T-Mobile’s use of magenta is protected by trademark law.”
An Aio Wireless representative told Re/code that, “while we disagree with the court’s decision, it addresses advertising and store designs that we are no longer implementing. Accordingly, this decision has no effect on our advertising plans.”
Here are the two logos, at least when Aio was still using its plum, so you can compare for yourself: